Hit The “Pandemic Wall”? You’re not alone.
A great writer reads your mind.
They articulate something you’ve been thinking. But haven’t put it into works. Or even admitted to yourself.
(One of the reasons for Dear Evan Hansen‘s success is because Benj Pasek, Justin Paul & Steven Levinson put issues on stage that parents and kids were thinking about. But not talking about. Hence all those tears of release at the end.)
I haven’t always been that way, though. Took a lot of exercise, training, and constant evaluation and coaching to “always look on the bright side of life.” (Insert Spamalot whistle here.)
If that sounds like staying positive is like an athlete for an Olympic event, it isn’t. It’s harder.
Especially in the last 12 months. And especially if you’re a TheaterMaker, like all of us.
So, yeah, I know the Pandemic Wall of which Maura speaks. It’s that feeling that started up in January and has crept into February. That . . . “Isn’t this over yet? Wait – variants? Wait – slower rollout than expected? Wait – you still have to mask after you get vaccinated? Wait – Broadway STILL doesn’t have a set start date?”
And that’s when you hit the wall.
And you want to move to Palm Springs, CA, and get a gig as a golf caddy.
And eat pizza, binge watch reality TV from the 90s, and think . . . “What I wouldn’t give to go back to 1997.”
I write this to you today because I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve been up against this wall lately.
I keep banging on it, of course. Because that’s what I do. And honestly? That’s probably not the best thing to do. Because this wall is @#$%ing thick. And swinging your hammer as hard as you can against something as almost impenetrable as this . . . you run the risk of injuring yourself.
And then you won’t be ready when that wall comes down on its own. And it will. It effin’ will.
So, my friends, this is my full disclosure blog to you to say, I ain’t all whiteboard quotes and sweet and silly shots of my daughter.
This has been one of the hardest times of my life. And more recently, when it should be a little easier because we KNOW that there is an end in sight, it has somehow gotten even harder.
If you’re feeling like you hit the wall . . . you’re not alone.
We can’t just give up though. Life as a golf caddy ain’t gonna make you happy. (My therapist told me that last week – without telling me that – because that’s not what they do.)
So here’s what I’m doing about the wall I run into.
Stop. Acknowledge the wall. See it. Feel it. Touch it. It’s real.
When you’re ready . . . do not try to go through it.
Because we will NOT get through this.
But we will get around it . . . if we take care of ourselves and each other.
Ok. Just saying that made the wall look even smaller. And . . . huh . . .will you look at that . . . I just got a very interesting idea for something I can do right now to make sure I’m better off than when this thing started.
Thanks for listening.
Read The Pandemic Wall article here.
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If you’re struggling for any reason during this time, I urge you to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish) or the Lifeline Crisis Chat.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.